Sri Lanka opposition faces more battles

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main opposition was facing more trouble today as three of their members holding deputy minister portfolios quit in a move that deepened a rift within an already divided leadership.

Deputy ministers Sudharshi Fernandopulle, Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Eric Weerawardena distanced themselves from President Maithripala Sirisena whose is still the nominal leader of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

"There is turmoil within the Rajapaksa camp after the president’s statement on Tuesday," a Rajapaksa loyalist said. "There is no need to hide the fact. We are very unhappy."

The resignation by three deputy ministers followed a court injunction against Rajapaksa supporters from holding any meetings of the policy making Executive and Working committees of their party.

A Rajapaksa loyalist from Kalutara district who asked not to be named said their fund raising was seriously hit after President Sirisena suggested that Rajapaksa will lose and will not be nominated PM even if the UPFA won.

Ending his long silence over nominating Rajapaksa and his loyalists as UPFA candidates was fuelled by the intense media attacks against President Sirisena, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in Colombo today.

President Sirisena was hurt over what he thought was unfair criticism, Senaratne said adding that the President was sensitive to public opinion.

However, political sources said his Tuesday speech has sparked a counter offensive by the Rajapaksa camp which was trying to buy over SLFP members who were still loyal to the president. (Colombo/July16/2015)

The internal fighting has further undermined their election campaign a day before the formal launch of Rajapaksa’s comeback bid from Anuradhapura on Friday evening.

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